Cross-platform mobile frameworks help application developers achieve better development results. A growing number of developers are now opting for cross-platform technologies and preferring them to native technologies. Two of the most popular cross-platform frameworks today are React Native and Flutter. These two platforms offer various features and excellent benefits. To choose the most suitable option, consider the advantages of Flutter and React Native. Then, read on to learn more about each of them.
Here is a summary of what you will learn from reading this article:
Cross-platform application development frameworks allow mobile applications that run on multiple operating systems like Android and iOS. This type of framework will enable users to write code once and run it on various platforms. A cross-platform application development platform allows developers to get faster and better software releases.
Flutter is Google’s open-source UI Toolkit for developing natively compiled applications. It currently offers users the ability to collect apps for the web, iOS, Android, Linux, Windows, Mac, and Google Fuschia.
The first version of Flutter, known as “Sky,” ran on the Android operating system. It was presented at the 2015 Dart Developer Summit as a solution that can render at 120 fps. The Flutter Release Preview 2 was announced by Google during the Google Developer Days in Shanghai. This is the last major version of Flutter before Flutter 1.0. The Flutter Live event on December 4, 2018, saw the launch of Flutter 1.0. Flutter 1.12 was released at a Flutter Interactive event on December 11, 2019.
Flutter version 1.17.0 and Dart SFK version 2.8 were released on May 6, 2020. Metal API support was added to this version. This feature has significantly improved the performance of iOS devices, offering new Material widgets, network tracking tools, and more.
The main components of Flutter include the Dart programming language, the Flutter engine, and the Foundation library.
The Dart programming language
Flutter applications are developed with the Dart programming language. It uses many of the more advanced features of this language. Flutter runs on the Dart virtual machine, a runtime engine, under macOS, Linux, Windows, and the Flutter Desktop Embedding project.
Flutter uses the JIT comparison during the writing and debugging processes of an application. It enables reloading to allow users to incorporate changes from the source file into a running application. In addition, Flutter extends support for reloading widgets. Finally, it will enable changes to the source code to be passed on to running applications without losing state or the need for a restart.
Versions of the Flutter app are compiled using the first version (AOT) on iOS and Android. Thus, it helps to achieve high performance of the frame on mobile devices.
The Flutter engine
The Flutter engine, primarily written in C ++, offers low-level rendering thanks to Google’s Skia graphics library. Additionally, it can interface with platform-specific SDKs, like those provided by iOS and Android. The Flutter Engine is a portable runtime for hosting Flutter applications. The engine implements Flutter libraries such as file and network I / O, animation and graphics, architecture, accessibility support, and several Dart runtime and builds components. Most developers use the Flutter Framework to interact with Flutter. The Flutter framework offers responsive structure as well as layout, foundation, and platform widgets.
The Foundation library, written in Dart, provides many fundamental functions and classes used to build Flutter applications, including APIs that facilitate communication with the engine.
The library also contains design-specific widgets with Android and iOS implementations.
The Flutter framework has two sets of widgets that correspond to specific design languages. For example, material Design widgets create implementations of Google’s visual identity, while Cupertino widgets implement Apple’s human interface guidelines for iOS.
Access to native features – Platform-specific features, such as geolocation and camera, require access to native features. These functions must be implemented through native codes. Flutter gives its users the feeling of developing a native platform. They can easily reuse their Swift, Java, and Objective-C code to access SDKs and native features on Android and iOS.
Similar to native app performance – App performance is an essential factor in providing a good user experience. The level of performance offered by Flutter is generally comparable to that of native applications and sophisticated user interface animations. Flutter does not rely on representations or interpretations of intermediate codes. Instead, a Flutter application is integrated directly into the machine code, thus reducing performance bugs during the interpretation process.
Reloading – Reloading is one of the most vital features of Flutter. It allows developers to observe any changes they have made to the code without delay. Changes are visible in just seconds, making it easy for developers to increase functionality, fix bugs, and experiment. In addition, reloading facilitates better collaboration between developers and app designers while instantly testing app appearance.
Own Display Engine – Flutter empowers developers to do more than any other platform. It gives favourable results with powerful frameworks, such as a powerful cross-platform renderer. Flutter uses Skia for self-representation on a platform infrastructure. Its engine allows the user interface created by Flutter to be launched on any virtual platform. Flutter users do not need to adjust the UI for platform transfer to simplify development.
High performance – React Native is useful for improving application performance through modules and native control. React Native connects to native components of both operating systems. In addition, it creates code for native APIs without restriction.
Release App Updates Faster – React Native streamlines the process of updating requests. As a result, it dramatically reduces the time it takes to release updates and the need to perform build processes separately.
Modular architecture – The modular programming function separates functions into different interchangeable blocks, called modules. React Native’s modular architecture helps developers update apps at a rapid pace. In addition, modules can be reused, just like web and mobile API code.
Improve an existing app – Existing apps can be enhanced using React Native. Its UI components can be inserted into a current application without having to rewrite it.
View Changes Immediately – React Native’s reload or live reload feature allows developers to instantly and simultaneously view code changes in a separate live preview window. It makes it easier for developers because they get real-time feedback.
Live Updates: React Native allows simultaneous application updates faster. Developers can use OTA (Over the Air) updates for apps even when the app is in use. The update can be prepared for use the next time the application is launched. Users of these apps can easily avoid having to download app updates through Android or Apple app stores.
We are going to compare Flutter and React Native. Let’s start with the similarities of the two frameworks.
The table below gives you an overview of the two frameworks.
|Release date||May 2017||March 2015||React-Native is a more mature framework.|
|CI / CD||Official Documentation||Not available on official documents||–|
|Github repository||Flutter||React Native||–|
|Github Stars / Forks||102k / 14.2k||90k / 20k||–|
Now, let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two frameworks.
To answer this question, I will compare data from Google Trends, Statista, and Github.
According to Google Trends, Flutter is the most widely used language, followed by React Native, for the development of cross-platform mobile applications in 2020.
According to Statista, React Native is still the most used framework with 42%. However, Flutter is quite close at 39% and saw a more significant increase between 2019 and 2020.
Another essential source to compare the popularity of Flutter and React Native is GitHub. Flutter leads the race here with 102,000 stars, but React Native is pretty close with 90,000 stars. Considering that Flutter’s initial release was in 2017 (versus 2015 for React Native), it looks like Flutter is gaining popularity faster, according to Github data.
So in terms of popularity, the two frameworks have a similar breakthrough with developers, and you will be able to find adequate community support on any of these two platforms.
Code better, faster! This is the ultimate goal of every developer and let’s analyze how Flutter and React Native behave in terms of productivity.
Reload: The reload feature allows application development companies to quickly change the backend and view code changes without saving a file. React Native and Flutter support this feature to help developers achieve maximum efficiency. Both frameworks provide this functionality and allow developers to save time when testing user interface changes. The productivity is about the same in this regard.
IDE: React Native is a clear winner in this area. Developers can use any IDE or text editor with React Native. Dart is not a popular language, and there aren’t many text editors and IDEs.
Project Setup: Flutter provides an informative getting started guide for Android and iOS platforms. Users can easily find instructions for the macOS platform as well. Flutter also provides a CLI tool called flutter doctor to make the setup process easier for developers. A React Native project assumes that a developer has all the installation files required for Android and iOS development.
Community support: The more committed developers there are, the more productive the community will be. Flutter and React Native are both on the same level when it comes to community. Both frameworks have extensive, well-written documentation and massive open-source communities.
Here is a summary of the difference in terms of performance for the two executives. I got this information in the article called “In-depth performance comparison. ” They did a great job comparing the frameworks; you should read this article for a compelling comparison.
Flutter is especially useful for developers who create applications with heavy animations. It offers higher performance and a lot of alternatives.
React Native is not suitable for CPU intensive operations. Developers should choose Flutter for applications that require more memory and CPU.
Flutter uses technology that hardly anyone knows is Dart. Although it is barely used, it is easy to learn. Additionally, Flutter is easy to learn as it offers straightforward documentation and plenty of free learning resources, including videos and developer articles that contain best practice information.
The way Flutter and React Native handle the user interface is different.
Flutter: An application written with Flutter behaves and looks natural on all platforms and can mimic their native components.
React Native: Application components are similar to native components in terms of appearance.
CI / CD is a delivery method for rapidly delivering applications through automation at different stages of application development. The most fundamental concepts of IC / CD include continuous delivery, continuous deployment, and continuous integration. CI / CD solves the problems that arise when integrating new codes for development projects.
CI / CD introduces continuous monitoring and automation throughout the application lifecycle, including integration, testing, delivery, and deployment. The monitoring practices are collectively referred to as the CI / CD pipeline. They are supported by development and operations professionals who collaborate under a Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) and DevOps approach.
The CI / CD is part of the official Flutter documentation, and it is beneficial for more professional and essential applications. Unfortunately, react Native documentation lacks official CI / CD support. However, it is possible to use external and unofficial sources to set up a CI / CD process.
The process is the same for Flutter and React Native. The main differences are based on the publishing process between the Apple Store and the Google Play Store. Please see post details on each store below:
The App Store requires users to pay an annual fee of $ 99 for developing and distributing their mobile products. In addition, users must participate in the Apple Developer Program to build and distribute apps on the App Store.
Members of the Apple Developer Program have access to all modern technologies offered by the company to create engaging and cutting-edge applications. These technologies include Apple Maps, Apple Pay, HomeKit, and HealthKit. In addition, Apple provides users with all APIs and SDKs to create engaging user experiences.
App Store users can also beta test their apps before launch. TestFlight beta testing allows users to share early product versions with their internal team members to get full feedback without delay. The Apple Developer Program allows a maximum of 25 development team members to beta test if they have an administrator or developer role in iTunes Connect. Each member can also try an app on 30 devices. Developers are now finding it very convenient to publish their products on the Apple App Store.
Google play store
A $ 25 fee is required for a Google Publisher account. But the difference is that a user only has to pay the fee once, unlike Apple platform users who have to pay their cost every year.
During registration, a user’s Google Publisher account is then linked to their development console. The Google Play Developer Console lets you download Android apps, create product pages, manage in-app subscriptions and purchases, and publish apps. Users can also change app distribution and promote their apps. In addition, the Developer Console offers many valuable features that make it easier to publish applications.
Apps are delivered faster on the Google Play Store than on the Apple App Store. It is because Google Play used to rely on algorithms for analyzing applications to speed up their launch. Google now relies on a team of reviewers to review all submitted applications before going live on Google Play. Application review times are still less than 3 hours despite manual review.
The abovementioned points can help developers gain valuable insight into Flutter and React Native aspects for cross-platform mobile app development.
The main similarities of frameworks are that they are open-source, maintained by large tech companies, and accelerate the development of mobile applications through a cross-platform experience.
The fundamental differences lie in each executive’s programming language, the developers’ productivity, and how they handle the ongoing process of delivery and integration.
Cross-platform application development frameworks allow mobile applications that run on multiple operating systems like Android and iOS.
– Both are cross
– platform frameworks – Open-Source
– Close to the native experience
– Programming language
– Learning curve
– Release date
– CI / CD process